Halina Szejnwald Brown is Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Associate Fellow at Tellus Institute. With a doctoral degree in chemistry, during the 1980s Brown was a chief toxicologist at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, directing the agency’s environmental health policy. Since coming to Clark in1987, much of Brown’s research and teaching has concerned itself with managing environmental and occupational hazard of pollutants. She published and consulted widely on new methods of risk assessment, and led a pioneering study of how US multinational corporations managed hazards in their facilities in India and Thailand. She conducted a study of the institutionalization of Global Reporting Initiative, GRI, a global model for “civil regulation” based on information disclosure about corporate sustainability performance. During the 1990s Brown worked in Poland – the country of her birth — studying the relationship between air pollution and lung cancer; and the transition of the environmental and occupational regulatory system to market economy and democracy.
Over the past decade the theme of Brown’s work has been the interface between technology, policy and culture in a transition to sustainable and prosperous future. Working in the US and Europe, Brown studied the role of small scale experiments and social learning in socio-technical transitions, focusing on the building and mobility sectors; and co-founded the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI), the North American knowledge network of professionals working to address challenges at the interface of material consumption, human fulfillment, lifestyle satisfaction, and technological change. She is a member of the SCORAI Executive Committee.
Brown was a visiting professor at University of Utrecht and University of Delft in the Netherlands, served on numerous committees of the National Academy of Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the International Society for Risk Analysis.
Brown is an energy activist in her home city of Newton, Massachusetts, serving as co-chair of Citizens’ Commission on Energy. She co-authored four books: Corporate Environmentalism in a Global Economy; Effective Environmental Regulation: Lessons from Poland’s Experience; Innovations in Sustainable Consumption; and Social Change and the Coming of Post-consumer Society: Theoretical Advances and Policy Implications.